On October 20th 2018, the D’Entrecasteaux and Huon Collaboration hosted a ‘Seaweed Appreciation Day’ at Tinderbox Reserve. Over 50 curious people attended to learn more about the beautiful form and function of marine plants. During the event taxonomic experts and Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) researchers gave talks about the evolutionary history of seaweeds, the nutritional value of seaweeds, and their importance to humanity. Event participants practiced using microscopes to see the intricate details of seaweed reproductive strategies and enjoyed seaweed pressing demonstrations as well as a guided tour of the marine reserve area.
Seaweeds are truly incredible. They are primary producers and an essential component of coastal marine food webs; they release oxygen into the water, are a source of food for herbivores and provide habitat. It has long been known that seaweed habitat and seagrass meadows are important breeding grounds for fish and invertebrates. They are highly adapted to living in salty aquatic conditions and can usually be found in waters between 0 – 25 m deep. These ancient assemblages come in a vast array of size, shape and internal structure. Green, brown, red and blue-green algae, and seagrasses, are more evolutionary distinct from each other than any two groups of land plants. A moss is more closely related to a eucalypt than these types of seaweeds are to each other! Over 650 species have been recorded in Tasmania and we must maintain the health of their environment. Seaweeds are also an important part of our cultural heritage and a vital part of our food production and pharmaceutical industry.
For further information on the D’Entrecasteaux and Huon Collaboration, visit www.ourwaterway.com.au